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#701267 - 03/01/08 06:59 PM Kawai MP5 vs. Roland FP4
zacharski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/08
Posts: 30
Loc: Las Cruces, New Mexico / Frede...
Hi all.

I think I narrowed my piano search to these 2 pianos (Kawai MP5 & Roland FP4). So far I haven't been able to play either. I found a dealer that carries the FP4 about 200 miles away. I will be going there in a few days. I also found a dealer who carries an MP5. Unfortunately, he will sell me the MP5 but will not take it out of the box for me to demo. Oh well.

Anyway, I am wondering about people's thoughts on these. I'm particularly interested in touch and the tone of the grand piano sample. Are the speakers of the FP4 adequate or do people typically run it through external speakers. Any thoughts whatsoever are welcome.

I listened to the FP4 youtube videos put up by lot2learn. The tone of the FP4 sounds quite good considering its an amateur youtube video. I didn't find any similar videos for the MP5.

Thanks to all those who contribute to this forum. I've learned quite a lot

- ron

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#701268 - 03/02/08 02:10 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs. Roland FP4
Dubba Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/07
Posts: 61
Loc: TN
I've not played either one but have heard them when I was researching digital pianos awhile back the consensus of various posters was that the Kawai has the better action\touch but Roland has the better sound.

On some of lot2learn Youtube videos he has the keyboard midied to a computer and isn't using the Roland sounds. (From what I can remember).

You asked a question about the Roland speaker but did not say where or how you will be using this keyboard. It you intend to gig with it, then no. If you just want to hear yourself when practicing, then yes.

Let us know what you decide.

#701269 - 03/02/08 06:06 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs. Roland FP4
zacharski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/08
Posts: 30
Loc: Las Cruces, New Mexico / Frede...
Thanks Dubba. Sorry I wasn't clear. I was wondering if the speakers were adequate when just practicing at home. Yeah, I was wondering if the lot2learn videos were using the FP4 sounds or if he was just using it as a controller. The combo ones, I figured were FP4 sounds since he was using the built-in tunes and rhythms. The others are not quite as clear cut.

I did play on a Kawai CN21 which I think has the same action as the MP5. I thought that was pretty good until I tried the wooden keyed Kawais, but the wood key models are out of the question due to weight. I plan I doing the 3+ hr. drive to Albuquerque to try out the FP4. Thanks for your comments.


#701270 - 03/02/08 06:49 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs. Roland FP4
curt88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 346
I researched this topic for months looking for the perfect feeling piano for my solo project. I've played the MP5 and I ended up getting the FP4, if that tells you anything!

I didn't buy it for its sounds - in fact when I demo'd it I didn't even turn it on! It just felt right to me. I use softsynth pianos so I didn't have an interest in what came loaded in it. But recently I started taking a look at the sounds in my FP4 and they aren't all that bad! Nothing I would record with but they're really good for practicing. The built in speakers do a decent job. They sound better the louder you crank them but we're talking about a grand piano sound here so how good can teeny little speaks really be?! Good for practicing.

I feel bad that you live so far away from a dealer. You show great dedication to this beautiful thing called piano by making such a trip just to play one!



Click Here

#701271 - 03/06/08 05:52 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs. Roland FP4
zacharski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/08
Posts: 30
Loc: Las Cruces, New Mexico / Frede...
I drove 230 miles to Albuquerque to the closest Roland dealer to try out the FP4. Here are my impressions.

BACKGROUND. I have a great Charles Walter piano at home in New Mexico. On the rare times I play out I use an ancient Alesis QS6. Unfortunately, I am currently working in Virginia and live in a small apartment there. I am looking for a keyboard to use in that apartment (for practicing classical and jazz music).

THE BUZZ. There are a lot of vocal FP4 owners out there both on this site and elsewhere. Lot2Learn has great videos on YouTube that show the capabilities of this keyboard (including the session partner) quite well. I haven't found any professional reviews. For example, nothing in Keyboard mag. that I found. Regarding the Kawai MP5, there are some reviews. Keyboard (3/06) reviewed the MP4 saying it had an excellent keyboard feel and "rich and satisfying acoustic and electric pianos". They reviewed the MP8 (2/06) saying it had authentic piano sounds. Keyboard Player reviewed the MP5 (10/07) praising the action and said the piano sounds are excellent. Compared to FP4 owners, here are fewer people on the forums that seem to own an MP5. Those that do seem to like them and have no regrets. For example, those writing reviews on Harmony Central seem to love the MP5.

I have yet to find an MP5 to try out so I am limiting my comments to the Rolands I tried yesterday and a Kawai CN21 which has the same action and piano sample (I think) as the Kawai. The Rolands I tried were the FP4, FP7, RD300 and the RD700SX. I spent about 2 hrs playing these.

TOUCH. The RD300 was awful. I fluctuated to which of the remaining models I preferred. I thought the FP7 & 700 were perhaps more realistic, but they took quite a bit of effort to play. If I had to pick between the Rolands on touch, I would pick the FP4. My memory was that I liked the Kawai CN21 action better. So I ended up going to a local music store today to check that out. What I discovered was that I have lousy memory for things tactile (or just lousy memory period). The Kawai I thought was better than the FP7 but I couldn't remember the FP4 well enough to make a comparison. It would have been nice to play these side by side.

VOLUME. One thing I did notice was the volume on the FP4 was very low. When I played through speakers at full volume, it wasn't that loud and more worrisome was that the volume through headphones wasn't that great either. The FP7 headphone volume at the half setting was louder than that of the FP4 at full. Maybe this was a defective unit as some people reported that they can gig in small settings with just the internal speakers.

SOUND. I liked that the RD700SX piano sounds were adjustable. I played with the lid, resonance, and other adjustments and one can get a pretty nice piano sound. The FP4 sounds were good--maybe better than the 2 piano samples on the Kawai CN21. There weren't many acoustic pianos to chose from and they didn't seem as adjustable as the 700sx. Maybe it was the volume thing but the sounds sounded better on the FP7. (This all through headphones). The one thing I liked about the MP5 (although I have yet to see one in real life) is that the piano samples are tweakable.
The specs on adjustability for the Mp5 are impressive.

USABILITY. The FP4 controls are a bit minimalistic. The FP7 had an audio tutorial on a USB memory stick and that helped in understanding how the FP4 worked. The FP7 was of course much nicer with an actual LCD. The session partner chord symbols appear on the FP4 LED and they are functional, but the FP7 displays both current chord and the next chord. The mythical MP5 seems like it wouldn't be as confusing as the Fp4. I imagine this is a learning thing and once you have an FP4 you can get around pretty well.

SESSION PARTNER. Originally I just wanted a basic piano but I must say that the lot2earn videos make this session partner feature look like fun. I played around with this a bit. Maybe I am missing something, but it seems you can duplicate much of this with Garageband or band-in-the-box. Do people use this?

MISC. The weight of the FP4 is certainly attractive (34 lbs) especially considering it has speakers. The FP7 is 53 lbs. The MP5 is 45. I like the fact that the MP5 plugs directly into AC without needing a power brick. The FP4 and FP7 have bricks. Oddly enough, I like the wood looking stand of the FP4.

CONCLUSION. Arghh. It is still a toss up between the FP4 and MP5. When I get back to the DC area I will try to find a FP4 to try it yet again. Right now I would be happy to own either.

#701272 - 03/06/08 08:30 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs. Roland FP4
Kawai James Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 12706
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Good luck with your continued search!

Kind regards,
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

#1436100 - 05/13/10 09:34 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs. Roland FP4 [Re: Kawai James]
Jake Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 689
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I'm almost positive that the first two pianos in the Kawai MP5 are the same as those in the Kawai EP3, which is easier to find--Sam Ash here in Atlanta carries them. So if you want to hear the sound...

(The EP3 has speakers, but fewer pianos and fewer controls.)

Edited by Jake Jackson (05/14/10 12:59 AM)

#1436177 - 05/13/10 11:58 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs. Roland FP4 [Re: Jake Jackson]
Kawai James Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 12706
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Correct. The MP5 and EP3 both utilise Harmonic Imaging (without 88-key sampling).

Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.


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